Category Archives: Schiller


Schiller: “The Glove”

THE GLOVE (1797)

A Tale

,

Before his lion-court,

To see the gruesome sport,

Sate the king;

Beside him group’d his princely peers;

And dames aloft, in circling tiers,

Wreath’d round their blooming ring.

.

King Francis, where he sate,

Raised a finger–yawn’d the gate,

And, slow from his repose,

A LION goes!

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Dumbly he gazed around

The foe-encircled ground;

And, with a lazy gape,

He stretch’d his lordly shape,

And shook his careless mane,

And–laid him down again!

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A finger raised the king–

And nimbly have the guard

A second gate unbarr’d;

Forth, with a rushing spring,

A TIGER sprung!

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Wildly the wild one yell’d

When the lion he beheld;

And, bristling at the look,

With his tail his sides he strook,

And roll’d his rabid tongue;

,

In many a wary ring

He swept round the forest king,

With a fell and rattling sound;–

And laid him on the ground,

Grommelling!

.

The king raised his finger; then

Leap’d two LEOPARDS from the den

With a bound;

And boldly bounded they

Where the crouching tiger lay

Terrible!

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And he gripped the beasts in his deadly hold;

In the grim embrace they grappled and roll’d;

Rose the lion with a roar!

And stood the strife before;

And the wild-cats on the spot,

From the blood-thirst, wroth and hot,

Halted still!

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Now from the balcony above,

A snowy hand let fall a glove:–

Midway between the beasts of prey,

Lion and tiger; there it lay,

The winsome lady’s glove!

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Fair Cunigonde said, with a lip of scorn,

To the knight DELORGES–“If the love you have sworn

Were as gallant and leal as you boast it to be,

I might ask you to bring back that glove to me!”

,

The knight left the place where the lady sate;

The knight he has pass’d thro’ the fearful gate;

The lion and tiger he stoop’d above,

And his fingers have closed on the lady’s glove!

. .

All shuddering and stunn’d, they beheld him there–

The noble knights and the ladies fair;

But loud was the joy and the praise, the while

He bore back the glove with his tranquil smile!

.

With a tender look in her softening eyes,

That promised reward to his warmest sighs,

Fair Cunigonde rose her knight to grace;

He toss’d the glove in the lady’s face!

.

“Nay, spare me the guerdon, at least,” quoth he;

And he left forever that fair ladye!

The Knight scorns Cunigonde

Schiller: “Hope”

Excerpt, “A Book of Ballads from the German.”  Translated by Percy Boyd, Esq.  1848.

manmoon

2hope

Friedrich von Schiller: “Count Eberhard: The Weeper of Württemberg”

Stuttgart_Stiftskirche_Grafenstandbilder_Figur_06_Eberhard_der_Greiner

Eberhard II, called “der Greiner”  Count of Württemberg 1344 –1392.

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Count Eberhard

The Weeper of Württemberg

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Ye !—ye, there, in the world without.

Lift not your heads so grand !

Men hath it borne, and heroes stout.

Alike for peace or battle-rout,—

Our gallant Swabian land !

.

Boast of your Edward, Fred’ric, Charles,

And Ludwig as ye might,

Charles, Fred’ric, Ludwig, Edward too,

Was Eberhard, our count so true,—

A tempest in the fight.

.

The county’s boy, young Ulrich, too,

Loved well the iron clang ;

The county’s boy, young Ulrich, too,

No footfall backward ever drew,

Where men to saddle sprang.

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The Reutlingers brew’d vengeance-pain

To see our names so bright;

And strove the victor’s wreath to gain,

And many a sword-dance dared maintain.

And drew their girdles tight.

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He gave them war,—beshrew the fight

Whence beaten home he came !

The father’s brow was black as night,—

The youthful warrior fled the light,

And wept for very shame.

Ary_Scheffer_001_detail_01

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That gall’d him : ” Ah, ye knaves, beware !”

(And kept it in his soul)—

” Now by my father’s beard I swear

To grind the notch my sword doth bear

On many a townsman’s poll !”

.

Nor long the time ere rose a feud:

Forth sallied horse and man ;

Toward Döffingen the army stood,

And brighter grew the younker’s mood,

And hot the fight began.

.

The watchword to our men that day

Was given—”the ill-starr’d fight”—

That drove us like the storm away,

And lodged us deep in bloody fray,

And in the lances’ night.

.

Our youthful Count, with lion’s wrath,

Swung high his hero-glaive ;

Wild battle-roar before his path.

Wailing and groans his feet beneath,

And all around—the grave.

.

But woe ! ah, woe ! a ghastly sword

Fell heavy on his head;

The hero-band surround their lord

In vain ; young Ulrich on the sward

With glassy eyes lay dead.

Eberhard der Greiner bei Döffingen 1388

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Then horror stayed the battle’s plan.

Tears from all eyes ‘gan flow;

But ho !—the count to charge began—

“My son is as another man ;

March, children, on the foe !”

.

And fiercer rageth now the fight.

For vengeance spurs them well ;

Forth o’er the corpses went their might,

And townsmen flying left and right

O’er forest, hill, and dell.

.

And blythely all our clarions rang

When to our camp hied we ;

And wives and children gaily sang,

‘Mid dances’ whirl and beaker-klang,

To praise our victory.

.

But Eberhard, what doth he here ?

Before him lies his son ;

Within his tent, no mortal near.

The Count hath dropt one sparkling tear

That silent form upon.

1-E1834-E1388-1DE:"Eberhard II. Graf von WŸrttemberg beweint seinen Sohn, derEberhard II. von Wttbg. beweint s. SohnEberhard II.,der Greiner,Graf v.WŸrttem- berg (1344-92);1315-1392. / - "Eberhard II. Graf von WŸrttemberg beweint seinen Sohn, der in der Schlacht bei Dšffingen starb". - (Erster StŠedtekrieg 1388/89; Schlacht b.Dšffingen,23.8.1388: Eberhard II. siegt Ÿber d.SchwŠb. StŠdtebund; Tod seines Sohnes Ulrich). / Gem.,1824,v.Ary Scheffer(1795-1858). / …l/Lwd,22x28,5cm.St.Petersburg, Staatliche Ermitage.Photo: akg-images

Therefore, with love so true and warm.

Around the Count we stand;

Alone, he is a hero-swarm—

The thunder rageth in his arm,—

The star of Swabian land.

.

Then, ye there in the world without.

Lift not your heads so grand !

Men hath it borne, and heroes stout.

Alike in peace and battle-rout.

Our gallant Swabian land.

 

Schiller: “Wallenstein”

Excerpt, “The Death of Wallenstein,” by Friedrich Schiller.

wallenstein

WALLENSTEIN IN SOLILOQUY
.
Is it possible?
Is't so? I can no longer what I would?
No longer draw back at my liking? I
Must do the deed, because I thought of it?
And fed this heart here with a dream?
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Because I did not scowl temptation from my presence,
Dallied with thoughts of possible fulfillment,
Commenced no movement, left all time uncertain,
And only kept the road, the access open?
By the great God of Heaven! It was not
My serious meaning, it was ne'er resolved.
.
I but amused myself with thinking of it.
The free-will tempted me, the power to do
Or not to do.
.
 Was it criminal
To make the fancy minister to hope,
To fill the air with pretty toys of air,
And clutch fantastic sceptres moving toward me?
Was not the will kept free? Beheld I not
The road of duty close beside me—but
One little step, and once more I was in it!
.
Where am I? Whither have I been transported?
No road, no track behind me, but a wall,
Impenetrable, insurmountable,
Rises obedient to the spells I muttered
And meant not—my own doings tower behind me.
.
Pauses and remains in deep thought.
.
A punishable man I seem, the guilt,
Try what I will, I cannot roll off from me;
The equivocal demeanor of my life
Bears witness on my prosecutor's party.
And even my purest acts from purest motives
Suspicion poisons with malicious gloss.
.
Were I that thing for which I pass, that traitor,
A goodly outside I had sure reserved,
Had drawn the coverings thick and double round me,
Been calm and chary of my utterance;
But being conscious of the innocence
Of my intent, my uncorrupted will,
I gave way to my humors, to my passion:
.
Bold were my words, because my deeds were not.
Now every planless measure, chance event,
The threat of rage, the vaunt of joy and triumph,
And all the May-games of a heart o’erflowing,
Will they connect, and weave them all together
Into one web of treason; all will be plan,
My eye ne'er absent from the far-off mark,
Step tracing step, each step a politic progress;
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And out of all they'll fabricate a charge
So specious, that I must myself stand dumb.
I am caught in my own net, and only force,
Naught but a sudden rent can liberate me.
.
Pauses again.
.
How else! Since that the heart's unbiased instinct
Impelled me to the daring deed, which now
Necessity, self-preservation, orders.
Stern is the on-look of necessity,
Not without shudder may a human hand
Grasp the mysterious urn of destiny.
.
My deed was mine, remaining in my bosom;
Once suffered to escape from its safe corner
Within the heart, its nursery and birthplace,
Sent forth into the foreign, it belongs
Forever to those sly malicious powers
Whom never art of man conciliated.
.
Paces in agitation through the chamber, then
 pauses, and, after the pause, breaks out again
 into audible soliloquy.
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What is thy enterprise? Thy aim? Thy object?
Hast honestly confessed it to thyself?
Power seated on a quiet throne thou'dst shake,
Power on an ancient, consecrated throne,
Strong in possession, founded in all custom;
Power by a thousand tough and stringy roots
Fixed to the people's pious nursery faith.
.
This, this will be no strife of strength with strength.
That feared I not. I brave each combatant,
Whom I can look on, fixing eye to eye,
Who, full himself of courage, kindles courage
In me too. 'Tis a foe invisible
The which I fear—a fearful enemy,
Which in the human heart opposes me,
By its coward fear alone made fearful to me.
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Not that, which full of life, instinct with power,
Makes known its present being; that is not
The true, the perilously formidable.
O no! it is the common, the quite common,
The thing of an eternal yesterday.
Whatever was, and evermore returns,
Sterling to-morrow, for to-day 'twas sterling!
.
For of the wholly common is man made,
And custom is his nurse! Woe then to them
Who lay irreverent hands upon his old
House furniture, the dear inheritance
From his forefathers! For time consecrates;
And what is gray with age becomes religion.
Be in possession, and thou hast the right,
And sacred will the many guard it for thee!

wallenstein2
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Friedrich Schiller: “The Battle”

austrian-prussian-cuirassiers-1200Austrian and Prussian cuirassiers at the

Battle of Lobositz

Seven Years War, 1st October, 1756

 

The Battle

Heavy and solemn,
A cloudy column,
Through the green plain they marching came!
Measure less spread, like a table dread,
For the wild grim dice of the iron game.
The looks are bent on the shaking ground,
And the heart beats loud with a knelling sound;
Swift by the breasts that must bear the brunt,
Gallops the major along the front–
“Halt!”
And fettered they stand at the stark command,
And the warriors, silent, halt!
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Proud in the blush of morning glowing,
What on the hill-top shines in flowing,
“See you the foeman’s banners waving?”
“We see the foeman’s banners waving!”
“God be with ye–children and wife!”
Hark to the music–the trump and the fife,
How they ring through the ranks which they rouse to the strife!
Thrilling they sound with their glorious tone,
Thrilling they go through the marrow and bone!
Brothers, God grant when this life is o’er,
In the life to come that we meet once more!
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See the smoke how the lightning is cleaving asunder!
Hark the guns, peal on peal, how they boom in their thunder!
From host to host, with kindling sound,
The shouting signal circles round,
Ay, shout it forth to life or death–
Freer already breathes the breath!
The war is waging, slaughter raging,
And heavy through the reeking pall,
The iron death-dice fall!
Nearer they close–foes upon foes
“Ready!”–From square to square it goes,
Down on the knee they sank,
And fire comes sharp from the foremost rank.
Many a man to the earth it sent,
Many a gap by the balls is rent–
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O’er the corpse before springs the hinder man,
That the line may not fail to the fearless van,
To the right, to the left, and around and around,
Death whirls in its dance on the bloody ground.
God’s sunlight is quenched in the fiery fight,
Over the hosts falls a brooding night!
Brothers, God grant when this life is o’er
In the life to come that we meet once more!
.
The dead men lie bathed in the weltering blood
And the living are blent in the slippery flood,
And the feet, as they reeling and sliding go,
Stumble still on the corpses that sleep below.
“What, Francis!” “Give Charlotte my last farewell.”
As the dying man murmurs, the thunders swell–
“I’ll give–Oh God! are their guns so near?
Ho! comrades!–yon volley!–look sharp to the rear!–
I’ll give thy Charlotte thy last farewell,
Sleep soft! where death thickest descendeth in rain,
The friend thou forsakest thy side shall regain!”
Hitherward–thitherward reels the fight,
Dark and more darkly day glooms into night–
Brothers, God grant when this life is o’er
In the life to come that we meet once more!
.
Hark to the hoofs that galloping go!
The adjutant flying,–
The horsemen press hard on the panting foe,
Their thunder booms in dying–
Victory!
The terror has seized on the dastards all,
And their colors fall!
Victory!
Closed is the brunt of the glorious fight
And the day, like a conqueror, bursts on the night,
Trumpet and fife swelling choral along,
The triumph already sweeps marching in song.
Farewell, fallen brothers, though this life be o’er,
There’s another, in which we shall meet you once more!

 

Schiller: “Arouse ye, my comrades, to horse! to horse!”

Excerpt, “The Camp of Wallenstein,” by Friedrich Schiller. From Scene XI. Translated by James Churchill.

wallenstein's camp

.SECOND CUIRASSIER (sings).

.

Arouse ye, my comrades, to horse! to horse!

To the field and to freedom we guide!

For there a man feels the pride of his force

And there is the heart of him tried.

No help to him there by another is shown,

He stands for himself and himself alone.

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[The soldiers from the background have come forward during the singing

of this verse and form the chorus.]

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CHORUS.

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No help to him by another is shown,

He stands for himself and himself alone.

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DRAGOON.

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Now freedom hath fled from the world, we find

But lords and their bondsmen vile

And nothing holds sway in the breast of mankind

Save falsehood and cowardly guile.

Who looks in death’s face with a fearless brow,

The soldier, alone, is the freeman now.

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CHORUS.

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Who looks in death’s face with a fearless brow,

The soldier, alone, is the freeman now.

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FIRST YAGER.

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With the troubles of life he ne’er bothers his pate,

And feels neither fear nor sorrow;

But boldly rides onward to meet with his fate—

He may meet it to-day, or to-morrow!

And, if to-morrow ’twill come, then, I say,

Drain we the cup of life’s joy to-day!

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CHORUS.

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And, if to-morrow ’twill come, then, I say,

Drain we the cup of life’s joy to-day!

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[The glasses are here refilled, and all drink.]

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SERGEANT.

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‘Tis from heaven his jovial lot has birth;

Nor needs he to strive or toil.

The peasant may grope in the bowels of earth,

And for treasure may greedily moil

He digs and he delves through life for the pelf,

And digs till he grubs out a grave for himself.

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CHORUS.

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He digs and he delves through life for the pelf,

And digs till he grubs out a grave for himself.

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FIRST YAGER.

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The rider and lightning steed—a pair

Of terrible guests, I ween!

From the bridal-hall, as the torches glare,

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[Unbidden they join the Scene]

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Nor gold, nor wooing, his passion prove;

By storm he carries the prize of love!

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CHORUS.

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Nor gold, nor wooing, his passion prove;

By storm he carries the prize of love!

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SECOND CUIRASSIER.

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Why mourns the wench with so sorrowful face?

Away, girl, the soldier must go!

No spot on the earth is his resting-place;

And your true love he never can know.

Still onward driven by fate’s rude wind,

He nowhere may leave his peace behind.

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CHORUS.

 

     Still onward driven by fate’s rude wind,

     He nowhere may leave his peace behind.

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FIRST YAGER.

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[He takes the two next to him by the hand—the others do the same—and

form a large semi-circle.]

     Then rouse ye, my comrades—to horse! to horse!

     In battle the breast doth swell!

     Youth boils—the life-cup foams in its force—

     Up! ere time can dew dispel!

     And deep be the stake, as the prize is high—

   Who life would win, he must dare to die!

 .

CHORUS.

 .

     And deep be the stake, as the prize is high—

     Who life would win, he must dare to die!

 

 

Schiller: “The Invincible Armada”

.armada2

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THE INVINCIBLE ARMADA

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She comes, she comes—the burden of the deeps!

Beneath her wails the universal sea!

With clanking chains and a new god, she sweeps,

And with a thousand thunders, unto thee!

The ocean-castles and the floating hosts—

Ne’er on their like looked the wild water!—Well

May man the monster name “Invincible.”

O’er shuddering waves she gathers to thy coasts!

The horror that she spreads can claim

Just title to her haughty name.

The trembling Neptune quails

Under the silent and majestic forms;

The doom of worlds in those dark sails;—

Near and more near they sweep! and slumber all the storms!

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Before thee, the array,

Blest island, empress of the sea!

The sea-born squadrons threaten thee,

And thy great heart, Britannia!

Woe to thy people, of their freedom proud—

She rests, a thunder heavy in its cloud!

Who, to thy hand the orb and sceptre gave,

That thou should’st be the sovereign of the nations?

To tyrant kings thou wert thyself the slave,

Till freedom dug from law its deep foundations;

The mighty Chart the citizens made kings,

And kings to citizens sublimely bowed!

And thou thyself, upon thy realm of water,

Hast thou not rendered millions up to slaughter,

When thy ships brought upon their sailing wings

The sceptre—and the shroud?

What should’st thou thank?—Blush, earth, to hear and feel

What should’st thou thank?—Thy genius and thy steel!

Behold the hidden and the giant fires!

Behold thy glory trembling to its fall!

Thy coming doom the round earth shall appal,

And all the hearts of freemen beat for thee,

And all free souls their fate in thine foresee—

Theirs is thy glory’s fall!

.

One look below the Almighty gave,

Where streamed the lion-flags of thy proud foe;

And near and wider yawned the horrent grave.

“And who,” saith He, “shall lay mine England low—

The stem that blooms with hero-deeds—

The rock when man from wrong a refuge needs—

The stronghold where the tyrant comes in vain?

Who shall bid England vanish from the main?

Ne’er be this only Eden freedom knew,

Man’s stout defence from power, to fate consigned.”

God the Almighty blew,

And the Armada went to every wind!

.

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Schiller: “Genius”

goethe_schiller2

GENIUS
1795

Do I believe, thou ask'st, the Master's word,
The Schoolman's shibboleth that binds the herd?
To the soul's haven is there but one chart?
Its peace a problem to be learned by art?
On system rest the happy and the good?
To base the temple must the props be wood?

Must I distrust the gentle law, imprest,
To guide and warn, by Nature on the breast,
Till, squared to rule the instinct of the soul,--
Till the School's signet stamp the eternal scroll,
Till in one mold some dogma hath confined
The ebb and flow--the light waves--of the mind?

Say thou, familiar to these depths of gloom,
Thou, safe ascended from the dusty tomb,
Thou, who hast trod these weird Egyptian cells--
Say--if Life's comfort with yon mummies dwells!--
Say--and I grope--with saddened steps indeed--
But on, thro' darkness, if to Truth it lead!

Nay, Friend, thou know'st the golden time--the age
Whose legends live in many a poet's page?
When heavenlier shapes with Man walked side by side,
And the chaste Feeling was itself a guide;
Then the great law, alike divine amid
Suns bright in Heaven, or germs in darkness hid—

That silent law--(call'd whether by the name
Of Nature or Necessity, the same),
To that deep sea, the heart, its movement gave--
Sway'd the full tide, and freshened the free wave.
Then sense unerring--because unreproved--
True as the finger on the dial moved,
Half-guide, half-playmate, of Earth's age of youth,
The sportive instinct of Eternal Truth.

Then, nor Initiate nor Profane were known;
Where the Heart felt--there Reason found a throne:
Not from the dust below, but life around
Warm Genius shaped what quick Emotion found.
One rule, like light, for every bosom glowed,
Yet hid from all the fountain whence it flowed.
But, gone that blessed Age!--our wilful pride
Has lost, with Nature, the old peaceful Guide.

Feeling, no more to raise us and rejoice,
Is heard and honored as a Godhead's voice;
And, disenhallowed in its eldest cell
The Human Heart--lies mute the Oracle,
Save where the low and mystic whispers thrill
Some listening spirit more divinely still.

There, in the chambers of the inmost heart,
There, must the Sage explore the Magian's art;
There, seek the long-lost Nature's steps to track,
Till, found once more, she gives him Wisdom back!
Hast thou--(O Blest, if so, whate'er betide!)--
Still kept the Guardian Angel by thy side?

Can thy Heart's guileless childhood yet rejoice
In the sweet instinct with its warning voice?
Does Truth yet limn upon untroubled eyes,
Pure and serene, her world of Iris-dies?
Rings clear the echo which her accent calls
Back from the breast, on which the music falls?

In the calm mind is doubt yet hush'd--and will
That doubt tomorrow, as today, be still?
Will all these fine sensations in their play,
No censor need to regulate and sway?
Fear'st thou not in the insidious Heart to find
The source of Trouble to the limpid mind?

No!--then thine Innocence thy Mentor be!
Science can teach thee naught--she learns from thee!
Each law that lends lame succor to the Weak--
The cripple's crutch--the vigorous need not seek!
From thine own self thy rule of action draw;
That which thou dost--what charms thee--is thy Law,
And founds to every race a code sublime--
What pleases Genius gives a Law to Time!

The Word--the Deed--all Ages shall command,
Pure if thy lip and holy if thy hand!
Thou, thou alone mark'st not within thy heart
The inspiring God whose Minister thou art,
Know'st not the magic of the mighty ring
Which bows the realm of Spirits to their King:
But meek, nor conscious of diviner birth,
Glide thy still footsteps thro' the conquered Earth!

Schiller: “Monument of Moor the Robber”

Schiller_Die_Räuber_1781b

MONUMENT OF MOOR THE ROBBER

 

A Suppressed Poem

 

‘Tis ended!

Welcome! ’tis ended

Oh thou sinner majestic,

All thy terrible part is now played!

 

Noble abased one!

Thou, of thy race beginner and ender!

Wondrous son of her fearfulest humor,

Mother Nature’s blunder sublime!

 

Through cloud-covered night a radiant gleam!

Hark how behind him the portals are closing!

Night’s gloomy jaws veil him darkly in shade!

Nations are trembling,

 

At his destructive splendor afraid!

Thou art welcome! ‘Tis ended!

Oh thou sinner majestic,

All thy terrible part is now played!

 

Crumble,—decay

In the cradle of wide-open heaven!

Terrible sight to each sinner that breathes,

When the hot thirst for glory

Raises its barriers over against the dread throne!

 

See! to eternity shame has consigned thee!

To the bright stars of fame

Thou hast clambered aloft, on the shoulders of shame!

Yet time will come when shame will crumble beneath thee,

When admiration at length will be thine!

 

With moist eye, by thy sepulchre dreaded,

Man has passed onward—

Rejoice in the tears that man sheddeth,

Oh thou soul of the judged!

 

With moist eye, by the sepulchre dreaded,

Lately a maiden passed onward,

Hearing the fearful announcement

Told of thy deeds by the herald of marble;

And the maiden—rejoice thee! rejoice thee!

 

Sought not to dry up her tears.

Far away I stood as the pearls were falling,

And I shouted: Amalia!

 

Oh, ye youths! Oh, ye youths!—

With the dangerous lightning of genius

Learn to play with more caution!

 

Wildly his bit champs the charger of Phoebus;

Though, ‘neath the reins of his master,

More gently he rocks earth and heaven,

Reined by a child’s hand, he kindles

Earth and heaven in blazing destruction!

 

Obstinate Phaeton perished,

Buried beneath the sad wreck.

 

Child of the heavenly genius!

Glowing bosom all panting for action!

Art thou charmed by the tale of my robber?

Glowing like time was his bosom, and panting for action!

He, like thee, was the child of the heavenly genius.

 

But thou smilest and goest—

Thy gaze flies through the realms of the world’s long story,

Moor, the robber, it finds not there—

Stay, thou youth, and smile not!

Still survive all his sins and his shame—

Robber Moor liveth—in all but name.

Friedrich_Schiller1 

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